A woman recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours thought the letter from the cabinet office was because she was “being deported”.
Sue Galloway, an angling coach, originally from Zimbabwe, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).
The 59-year-old, who lives in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire, was honoured for services to young people and to disadvantaged communities.
“I just want to encourage young people to fish,” she said.
Ms Galloway, who moved to the UK in 2002, is a freelance angling coach who works with young people, particularly children from diverse backgrounds and those excluded from school.
“I started fishing in Zimbabwe at the age of three; we lived by one of the big rivers and my dad taught all seven siblings,” she said.
After she moved to the UK, she began teaching it across Northamptonshire.
“I’ve noticed there’s a lot of elderly people, retired people fishing and not enough young people fishing and the young people are the anglers of the next generation,” she said.
‘Appreciated and loved’
Ms Galloway said fishing could help youngsters “develop their patience and it spills over” into school.
“I’ve had a lot of feedback to say that when the child started, they couldn’t sit still, and they can now focus or focus for longer in the classroom,” she said.
In 2021, she became the first female participant from an ethnic minority background in the Ladies National Angling Championships.
“I’ve made it my mission to try and encourage more girls and more women and more people from diverse communities to get engaged in fishing,” she said.
She said when she received the letter from the Cabinet Office about her honour “I thought I was being deported”.
“I don’t what made me think that, because I’m legally in the country, so was a bit scared to open the envelope and then when I did open it, I didn’t understand it until I looked it up [online]… and then I got excited,” she said.
Ms Galloway said the news was “a shock to start with, but think it’s really, really great and I feel appreciated and loved”.
Other people in Northamptonshire awarded honours:
- Angela Hillery, chief executive of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, is appointed CBE for services to the NHS
- Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, becomes an OBE for services to further education
- Dr Richard Barrett, founder of Daventry Contact and Spencer Contact, is appointed MBE for services to the environment and the community
- Tony Kingston, scorer at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, is awarded a BEM for services to cricket.